Jeroen Op de Beeck

Sarajevo is interesting for walking

Jeroen Op de Beeck, a product designer from Belgium, met his wife, Emina Šunje of Sarajevo, in Antwerp, where she was doing her doctorate in Biology. They moved to Sarajevo in 2017. Jeroen started his wooden furniture brand, Jera Wood, and Emina works as an assistant at the Faculty of Natural Sciences and Mathematics.


Jeroen got his love of woodworking from his father, a carpenter. Today, his Jera Wood products can be ordered at

- BiH is a wood-rich country and I can easily come by quality walnut, ash, oak.... It’s very important that I buy wood from responsible sources, because I’m against illegal cutting and negligent exploitation of nature.

While Emina was pregnant, Jeroen created a line of wooden toys (with no screws) that stimulate children’s imagination and develop motor skills.

Rock climbing

He and his wife do rock climbing, which is how they met, and he’s made an artificial wall in front of their house so that they can stay in shape.

- In Sarajevo, we climb on the most popular site in town – Dariva. We’re keen to visit Skakavac and Bukovik; and Blagaj, Drežnica, Pecka…offer some great climbing outside of Sarajevo.

They’re often out in nature, so they enjoy snowboarding on Bjelašnica in winter, hiking in the summer. They usually go to Prenj and Čvrsnica, where Emina studies a species of fire salamander.

He says our mountains are wonderful, but he notices that they should be made more accessible, from having transport to reach them, to the signage that would make it easier for tourists to orient themselves.

- You need to offer people who stay in hotels on the mountains shorter tours with a guide, information, maps…. BiH remains an unknown country for many, and its nature is not ruined by mass tourism. Life here is cheap, by European standards, and the people are friendly.

As for museums, he spotlights Svrzo's House as a special historical and architectural site.

- The whole city is interesting for walking, but I miss more exhibits by international contemporary artists and street art exhibits.

Hand-made items

As for buying hand-made products by young BiH designers, Jeroen recommends OREA online bazaar, Waga Wood cutting boards, Gazzda furniture, items from Kazandžiluk St., hand-cut furniture by the Nikšić family in Konjic....

When he first came he enjoyed sarma and other traditional Bosnian dishes, but he soon realized that BiH cooking was too calorific, so he went vegetarian.

- Aščinica ASDŽ and Kibe Mahala have some excellent Bosnian food, and the latter plays nice music and has a gorgeous view of the city. There are different kinds of pita, which can be found on every corner, and simple meals, like ajvar and rolls with kaymak.

Jeroen visits Taj Mahal for international food, he loves to go for drinks at Meeting Point and Kino Bosna, he often buys baked goods at Maison Coco, and he would love if the city had more Chinese restaurants, sushi bars....